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The contribution that buildings make towards supporting environmental objectives, such as biodiversity, sustainable water management and energy efficiency, is rarely exploited to its full potential. One way of advancing towards these objectives is through the use of vegetation as an integral part of building design, in the form of green walls and green roofs, and the use of complementary features such as roosting and nest boxes.
Currently, in the UK’s public and private sectors, there is increasing demand for more sustainable and energy efficient buildings. National policy is in place to promote the protection of wildlife, the enhancement of biodiversity, the management of flood risk and to improve the thermal efficiency of buildings. Typical drivers include:
In order to meet these challenges planners, designers, and engineers are being driven to develop innovative and imaginative solutions to promote biodiversity, sustainable drainage and thermal efficiency within developments. Reflecting the national picture, local level policy is starting to acknowledge the potential of green roofs and green walls in achieving these countrywide aims.
In response to the identified drivers, and following consultation with a number of key stakeholders, CIRIA initiated a research project in 2005 to develop easy-to-use guidance that would comprehensively explore the technical and planning issues surrounding the incorporation of green roofs, green walls and associated features in buildings. In particular stakeholders wished to explore how these features could benefit the built environment by enhancing biodiversity, sustainable drainage and thermal efficiency.
After two years of development, guided by a project steering group, CIRIA launched the Building Greener guidance in of 2007. The guidance is intended for use by those who require independent advice on the planning, design, construction and maintenance of green roofs, green walls and other biodiversity features.
Visit the CIRIA website to order a copy of CIRIA guidance C644.
This website has been developed to complement the guidance by providing summary information, the latest case studies, results of research and links to relevant websites. Information on events and training will also be flagged through the website.